Music is her first love
Latoya Mangezi, who plays the junkie Ayanda in the SABC3 soapie Isidingo, talks to Sowetan about the various highlights and trials of her life.
At what age did you come into the entertainment industry?
My music career began at age eight with live performances at the Sun City Superbowl alongside my dad (Blondie Makhene) for an HIV-Aids awareness concert and performing at the Panafest in Accra, Ghana.
I then started with commercials at age nine and went on to become a KTV presenter at age 10.
Did your parents initially encourage you to pursue a career in the industry?
No! Our parents, especially our dad, didn't wish for any one of us to become musicians. But, the music bug had bitten me and my dad had no choice but to cultivate my natural gift.
What did you find attractive about the industry back then?
The beautiful songs that were written and the beautiful voices that sang them. I always loved watching live performances and was privileged to be allowed to sit right in the front on stage to watch Aunty Brenda's (Brenda Fassie) shows.
You are both in music and acting, which appeals best for you?
I am passionate about both but I have to say that music is my first love.
Will you pass the "family entertainment legacy" to your children?
It's all up to them. I can't choose for them. I can only love, support and guide them in whatever they choose.
After you have been to the training as a sangoma, would you say there are changes in your acting career?
I think that my understanding of people and my work with them has just made me a better actress. Also, I know that I am being blessed because of the unselfish road that I took to go Thwasa (initiation to sangoma).
What do you like most about Isidingo?
Besides loving my character, I love the stories that are written, the directors, the freedom to play and explore on set and, above all, the amazing actors I get to work with every day.
What do you hate about your character, Ayanda?
I hate that she has a weakness for drugs! But I am also honoured to be telling this story because it's so real. It's a painful reality that needs to be spoken about.
How do you juggle being a mother, musician, actor and a wife?
A lot of prayers and a great support system. I have a great husband who works so well with me. Between the two of us, we make sure that one of us is present in our children's lives.
Being Women's Month, what has been the gift you got this month?
I'm just glad to be able to wake up every day and see my family.
Your first pay cheque as a musician, how much was it?
Your first purchase with your first pay cheque?
My parents put it away in a savings account for me. I never blew money but I was happy to share it with my sisters.
Your first crush on a celebrity?
Patrick Swayze (Dirty Dancing).
Your first experience on set?
I was nine years old and had a lead role in a commercial for Manhattan Sweets.
Your first experience as a musician on stage?
Sharing a stage with my dad at Sun City for an HIV-Aids awareness show and then with all the greats in this country, Lucky Dube, Yvonne Chaka Chaka and others. Proud Moment!
Your first time you forgot your lines on set?
It was my first presenting job at age 10 on KTV.
Your first kiss on set?
When I played the lead role in a short film called My Zulu Wedding in 2009.